The Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, has appointed the Revd Preb Sarah Schofield as his new Adviser For Women In Ministry.
The adviser plays an important role as an advocate for womens ordained ministry in the Diocese of Lichfield and advises Bishop Michael and the area bishops of Wolverhampton, Stafford and Shrewsbury on issues facing female clergy.
Sarah has been the Vicar of All Saints in Wolverhampton since 2006 where she has developed the Warm Welcome project a multi-agency initiative which offers a safe space to local sex workers. She is also a member of General Synod - the national legislative body of the Church of England - and the Archbishops Council of the Church of England and the Faith and Order Commission. Sarah is also a doctoral student at the University of Birmingham exploring how young female ordinands grow into confident, creative, mature clergy in a way that can sustain them for decades. In May 2018 she will be leaving her current parish role to create space to focus on her research.
Sarah said: I am grateful to Bishop Michael for allowing me to bring together disparate passions into one role. I am unashamedly a Christian and equally unashamedly a feminist. My faith calls me to care for Gods people through practical acts of service and academically rigorous research, both can change the world and the church for the better. As a researcher I look forward to identifying the barriers in this diocese to female clergy ministering in every area of the churchs life. As a fellow priest I look forward to supporting women, as together we explore the fullness of our calling. I see my role as one specialist element within Bishop Michaels wider vision for our diocese as family of God in which all Gods people are represented in leadership.
Sarah will become a member of Bishop Michaels staff team, which meets every month, and will monitor the experience of women in ordained ministry to help them develop to their fullest potential.
Bishop Michael said: It is wonderful to welcome Sarah as my Adviser For Women. She brings a depth of experience at both local parish and national level and I know she will work effectively to promote the flourishing of female clergy across the Diocese of Lichfield. Sarah takes over from the Revd Preb Jane Tillier who I would like to thank for her commitment to seeing women develop in ministry as Bishops Adviser over the past six years.
The Bishops Adviser is also available as a link between the female clergy of the Diocese and the Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Maidstone. The diocese recognises the different views which exist within the Church of England over the ordained ministry of men and women and remains committed to mutual flourishing. The Bishop of Maidstone offers extended pastoral and sacramental care to those who stand in the conservative evangelical tradition while the Bishop of Ebbsfleet offers extended care to traditional catholics in the Church of England.
The role is non-stipendiary (unpaid) but does come with a small responsibility allowance.